From MSU/NFL football player and Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenant, Joe Tate landed as a Ross student and superstar Board Fellow with the Belle Isle Conservancy, He moved on to an impact job with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), leading to his election to the Michigan House of Representatives for the 2nd District, where he currently serves. We caught up with him recently to get his thoughts on the Ross impact experience.
Describe the experiences that have most influenced your path to DEGC and then to elected office.
The upbringing that my mother gave me, and my siblings, most influenced my decision to work in economic development and seek public office — she prioritized service through her actions. Additionally, my time in the Marine Corps gave me a global perspective in service of my country.
How have you leveraged your Ross experience in your career?
Through a variety of ways! Most notably by reaching out to the Ross faculty, staff, and alumni for guidance on different challenges on projects. Leveraging the relationships I built with others at Ross is probably the most valuable asset I carry with me from my time in Ann Arbor.
What led you to make the switch from DEGC to the House?
I ran for State Rep. in 2016 while I was still at Ross – I was unsuccessful during that campaign. In 2018, I decided to run again when I was at the DEGC because I felt I could play some small role in improving the quality of life for the residents in my district.
What is a major issue you seek to address on behalf of your constituents in the near future? Does it have a social impact component?
There are several issues that are priorities for constituents in my district, from education funding to reliable transportation services to veteran support services. One issue that I have been focused on has been around financing for water and coastal infrastructure systems, in part due to recent flooding in neighborhoods in my district such as Jefferson-Chalmers.
What do you think business schools can improve upon to better prepare students for careers with impact? What are students’ biggest challenges?
I believe business schools can continuously have a finger on the pulse of what impact looks like in the marketplace and align their resources to support the students who seek those roles. For students, one of biggest challenges in preparation for careers in impact, and in any career in general, is maintaining focus on what they want to get out of business schools. It can be easy to deviate from the path one sets in school (which is okay), but having regular goals check-ins is something I personally found helpful.
Do you have any advice for students aiming to make a career in the social sector?
Build a craft. In other words, build a set of skills while in school to help you gain a foothold in your career in impact. Those skills can take different forms (e.g. accounting, project management, skill building, etc.).